Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tea and cookies



This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Lenox Almond Biscotti, selected by Gretchen of Canela & Comino.  

But first things first. Happy birthday (today) to my little munchkin, Gillian! I can hardly believe that she's two. Where does the time go?













Okay, back to the baking. =)  For a change, I actually made these early!  Part of the reason was because I knew my schedule at the end of the week would be crazy.  And part was because I've never made biscotti before.  In fact, I don't think I've ever eaten biscotti before this.  Sure, I've seen them plenty of times.  But they are often flavored with things like almond and anise, which I really don't like very much.  So right, off, you can probably guess that I made some changes to the recipe.  


For my first attempt, I substituted 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla for the almond extract (which was also 1 1/2 teaspoons in the original recipe--that's a lot of almond!).  I went with pecans instead of almonds (had some left from last week) and added half a cup of bittersweet chocolate pieces.

  

The chocolate was actually a cool new product that I learned about courtesy of Anna at Cookie Madness.  They actually come in 58%, 72%, and 100%.  Pretty handy.  

With the first batch of biscotti, I learned that you really don't want to make the logs too wide, since they spread a lot.  And they take longer than expected to bake through.  I pulled mine out at about 17 minutes, and I should have left them in longer, since it turned out that the centers were still not quite done.  After letting the logs cool, I sliced them on the bias, and put them back in the oven for another 18 minutes.  

The verdict?  I love the pecans in these.  The chocolate was good, but almost a bit too bitter, especially in contrast with the sweetness of the pecans.  Not bad, but they need work.


So I made them again. =)  I continue to crave fall flavors.  And one of my favorite teas, year-round, is chai.  So I decided to come up with a chai spice version.  I kept the vanilla, but cut it back to 1 teaspoon.  I added 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cardamom and freshly grated nutmeg to the dry ingredients.  For the second round, I was much more careful shaping the logs.  I baked them for 25 minutes the first time, which firmed them up nicely for cutting.  For the second bake, I went with 15 minutes.  Had I added any nuts or other additions, I would have kept them in longer.  As the cookies were cooling on the rack, they looked a bit boring, though.  So I whisked some powdered sugar with a bit of milk and drizzled the glaze over them.

The verdict?  Fantastic!  The flavor combination was just what I was after.  Great with tea, chai or otherwise.  I know some bakers didn't really care for the crunch from the cornmeal, but I like it.  I'm looking forward to experimenting with some other flavor combinations.  

For the recipe, head on over to Gretchen's blog.  And don't forget, if you want to join us in our weekly baking adventures, sign up by October 31st!


27 comments:

  1. Oooh, good job with the two batches! I had so many variations that interested me; I may have to make these again. I'm with you on the cornmeal - a little grainy is fine by me. Your chai biscotti look and sound really fantastic!
    Nancy

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  2. i think i'd like both those flavors! and gillian's a lucky girl to grow up with all your yummy baked goods!

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  3. chai and glaze, that's BRILLIANT!!! now i have to make them again. i sliced mine on the bias too, that's funny. great minds, and all that. :)

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  4. Happy Birthday to Gillian!

    Your biscotti look great. I love the Giradelli bittersweet chocolates! I haven't seent the 72%, have only seen the 60%!

    Love that last pic!

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  5. Happy Birthday, Gillian!! I love the way she is hanging there, in mid air! And that baby picture...makes me want to have another one. I love when they are so tiny and when you get those peaceful moments.
    Biscotti--looks amazing! Love the chocolate drizzle. Great job.

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  6. Happy Birthday to your baby girl! Your biscotti (both of them) look yummy. Great job!
    Clara @ iheartfood4thought

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  7. Oh darn, not quite right the first time, have to make them again :) I love both versions, especially the glazed chai ones.

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  8. The chai with the glaze oh yum! Happy Birthday to your little one the time does fly by!

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  9. Chocolate in these was certainly delicious but I really like your chai ones. What fun and very creative. Glad you baked and ate biscotti for the first time! yeah!

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  10. they look so yummy with the glaze on top! beautiful job, and a very happy b-day to your little girl! :)

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  11. Your biscotti look beautiful! I love almond, but your flavor variations sound so good to me that I may well try yours next time. I love the pretty drizzle on the top! Happy birthday to your sweet baby girl! The time sure does go by fast!

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  12. I love how you drizzled the glaze on top.

    Fabulous.

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  13. ooh YUM! The Chai flavored biscotti sound wonderful.

    Happy Birthday Gillian! (I love that name).

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  14. they look so delicious with the drizzle on top! I had one of mine with a cup of Chai the day I made them. I love biscotti!

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  15. Your biscotti looks absolutely perfect! Great job experimenting on the flavor combinations.

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  16. Mmmm, the chai sounds fantastic! Great pick.

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  17. Love all the flavor combinations!! These look great. And happy birthday to your cutie!

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  18. That chai spice sounds AMAZING! I am DEFINITELY going to try that with these biscotti! Brilliant! And it looks amazing with the glaze!

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  19. Oh, these look lovely...the drizzle is just so pretty on them. Great photos and wonderful flavor combination ideas. I am going to have to spiff up my act on these...surely I can be you when I grow up in my baking skills! I can aspire anyway...LOL. Thanks for sharing!

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  20. Two versions? You are an over achiever!

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  21. Chai is my all time favorite also. I wanted to make chai biscotti, but settled for cardamom instead. Next time I use your measurements. Great job. They look fantastic!!!

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  22. Love your spice blend! And happy birthday to Gillian!

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  23. Wow those look really good! Love the drizzles ;) This was my first attempt at biscotti so I didn't vary the recipe, but I will next time!

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  24. These look great! I love your variations!

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  25. love the drizzle on your biscotti!

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